COPING SERIES: Exposing Spiritual Insecurities
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”(Matthew 5:13-16, NKJV)
God said to me, “James, are you using your coping mechanisms to mask your spiritual insecurity?”
That’s where this whole series began. For five weeks, I have been writing about spiritual coping mechanisms and why each response exists. We’ve been exploring how the natural inclination to fight, flight, or freeze have their effect on the people around us and our personal relationship with God.
Though that seems like an obvious statement, it can become easy to throw away the reality of our
consequences, good or bad. We have to remember that the point of coping is not just simply to survive. The purpose of coping as Christians is to allow us to overcome our situations, and more importantly, to use that outcome as a testimony to others. Our victories are not always about us, and once I came to that realization, I immediately knew that I had a job to do when God asked me that question you see above.
The job we have as Christians is to be salt and light. Jesus gave us this identity and asked us to live this way. Salt and light respectively accomplish two tasks– purification and exposure. Both qualities exist to renew our hearts and make us vessels that glorify the Father. This means that our spiritual insecurities have no right to live within us. We have a standard to live up to as Christians, and fear isn’t something that Jesus has given us. Jesus doesn’t call us children of disobedience as He does the world. He gives us the identity of salt and light to tell us that we have a purpose to affect change.
When I read our key verse, I saw parallels of joy and surrender. The coping mechanisms that we use each day are the product of surrender, and the outcome will always bring joy if we walk spiritually-minded. Salt is a flavorful purifier, and the ‘salty surrender’ we go through is the surrender of ourselves to put on the Lord’s integrity. A flavorful Christian is someone who resists the enemy and looks to the Father, even when there might be massive pain and turmoil in their life.
A purified Christian is someone who faces adversity and uses the grace they find to bring fire into someone else's life. The second part of being salty is long-suffering joy. Salt preserves and extends the life of foods we use, and as a Christian, being salty will create a balanced and sustained life that gives you joy.
With all of this, salt is something that has to be directly applied; so as a Christian, we have to ask ourselves: “Am I truly walking in integrity to affect those around me?” This is directly reflective of how we cope.
Being a light as a Christian is the application of being more like Christ. When I think about my spiritual insecurities, I remember that deep down, the enemy wants me to be afraid and doubt the power of God in my life. Coping mechanisms can be a mask for carnal insecurities if they are exhibited by our own power and perspective without Christ. Being an enlightened Christian means the carnal mask is ripped off and tossed out.
Taking off our mask is surrender. And since light exposes, we suddenly find ourselves vulnerable in the presence of our Savior and those that are walking in faith with us. That’s not easy. That’s a frightening thing, and that vulnerability is something that I personally fight tooth and nail. So when God asked me that question, a part of me was uncomfortable. At first, I knew that I had to be vulnerable with myself and my inner circle before I could write this coping series. Now, I realize this light is the literal Christ that is inside of me and is something I need to walk in daily.
It’s easy to fall into habits and carnality because it’s comfortable. But when we invite King Jesus to walk into our lives, He floods out the things that keep us bound, depressed, scared, and angry with our real and given identity– salt and light. Our insecurities have existed in us for far too long. Let’s take what the enemy has tried to bind us with and use it to set others free by walking in this identity Christ gave us.
Why fight? Fight to see a change in the world around us.
Why flight? Run to your Father to find out who true love is.
Why freeze? Stop everything to remember the one who gave it all for us.
Whatever you do, keep going. You can’t afford not to.